58 mentally challenged people from Bihar, UP found working as bonded labourers in Punjab: MHA

The Centre has informed the Punjab government that 58 mentally challenged people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were found working as bonded labourers in the border districts of the state and asked it to take appropriate action to deal with the “serious” problem.

In a communication to the chief secretary of Punjab, the Union Home Ministry said the Border Security Force (BSF) has found these 58 people were brought to Punjab with the promise of good salary but exploited, given drugs and forced to work in inhuman conditions.

The home ministry said the BSF has informed it that these labourers were rescued from the border areas of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Abohar in Punjab in 2019 and 2020.

“During the course of questioning, it emerged that most of them were either mentally challenged or were in a feeble state of mind and have been working as bonded labourers with farmers in border villages of Punjab.

“The persons apprehended belong to poor family background and hail from remote areas of the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh,” the letter, accessed by PTI, said.

The home ministry said it has been further informed that “human-trafficking syndicates hire such labourers from their native place to work in Punjab on the promise of a good salary, but after reaching there, they are exploited, paid poorly and meted out inhuman treatment”.

To make them work in the fields for long hours, these labourers are often given drugs, which adversely affect their…

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